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Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information

DIRECTIONS: Click the response that best characterizes a specific information source (e.g., web page, periodical article, government document, or book) and this automatically-scoring checklist will help you rate whether the source provides useful support for class-related research.


1. Information about the author and/or sponsor of this material in the source itself? Yes (1 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
2. Information verifies that they are knowledgeable about the topic or that they consulted experts? Yes (4 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
3. Information sources cited in the text and/or in a list? Yes (2 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
Total Reliability Points


1. Does the title or other information suggest that this material primarily presents facts (e.g., research study, charts, graphs, and/or statistics, etc.)? Yes (2 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
2. Does the title or other information suggest that this material includes opinion with valid and reliable support materials (e.g., teacher citing research studies that suggest year-round schooling is detrimental to children)? Yes (2 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
3. Does the author and/or sponsor include different viewpoints or opinions about an issue? Yes (2 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
4. Does the information meet your expectations? (e.g., contents match the title) Yes (1 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
Total Content Points


1. Date listed in the information source that relates to the timeliness of material being presented?  Yes (1 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
2. Source include information that is still useful and/or valid?  Yes (2 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
Total Currency Points


1. Does this information seem to support my topic thesis? Yes (2 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
2. Can I understand this information without having special training or education? Yes (2 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
3. Does this information include sufficient topic detail to be useful? Yes (2 pt.)
No (0 pt.)
Total Appropriateness Points



Scholarly vs. Popular

Scholarly Journals (also known as Peer-Reviewed or Refereed Journals):

  • are often published monthly or quarterly
  • may include several lengthy articles on research projects
  • provide research studies that include the scientific method with background/introduction, methods, results, discussion (except literary criticism)
  • feature articles written, reviewed, and designed by and for professionals
  • display black and white graphics and some advertisements
  • list information sources in article text and in references at the end of an article
  • can be found on the free Internet but easily searchable in research databases

Physical Therapy | American Psychologist | The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture

Popular Magazines:

  • are usually published monthly or weekly
  • include short articles on a wide variety of topics
  • include articles with basic facts and/or opinion of people, ideas, or events
  • feature articles written and edited by staff or freelance journalists
  • provide color photographs and advertisements
  • list information sources sometimes in the text
  • frequently found on the free Internet but easily searchable in research databases 

Psychology Today | Science News | The Economist

More Information on Journals vs. Magazines:
Scholarly vs. Popular Materials Guide (from North Carolina State University Libraries)